Where Time Stands Still: Special Report from Moldova's Breakaway Transnistria
21 December, 2016

Transnistria - a thin strip of land between Ukraine and the Dniester River in eastern Moldova where the Soviet legacy remains strong today. Since declaring itself an independent in 1990, the region has operated with its own president, parliament, rules and even currency. Not a single U.N. member has acknowledged its independence - even Russia, a large military and financial contributor to the territory. Yet, as Hromadske found out, all is not well. In the quiet city of Tiraspol, it seems the political promises of prosperity, investment, and modernization have past unfounded. 

Quotes of residents:

"Pensions, salaries, work places… There are a lot of problems. Also, prices in the markets. A good host is needed. Everything will be okay when a good host comes."

"Work places are the key issues. Life will get better if work places are created. It will lead to industrial development. I’m of pre-retirement age. I don’t receive a pension because I have a child who is a first-category invalid. I had to receive a status of pensioner at the age of 50, but I do not have 20 years of service. What should I do? I can neither receive a pension nor find job. Should I hang a brick around my neck and jump into the Dniester? I wish I could work and not live off of my child’s pension. It’s impossible to live for 1,000 rubles taking into account that there is a need to pay utility bills. The employment office says that there are no jobs available. You know that people of pre-retirement age…I survive somehow; I do some side jobs. What can we do?"

"We are tired of this. All countries are developing and we stand still. There are changes neither for the better nor for the worse. There are a lot of talks. 25 years have passed and there is no belief that it will be recognized. Everyone just promises. All the presidents promise it. But I do not see any changes. Of course, we’ll keep hoping that the step forward will be made."

"It got worse everywhere, but my friends who live in Russia… The situation there got worse but not to such extent. They deny themselves of some things; we here deny ourselves of everything. There is an issue of currency... Medicine, diapers and food are extremely expensive here. It’s cheaper to buy dollars and to go to Ukraine to buy everything there. In such a way, it’s possible to save some money, despite the fact that there are transport expenses."